- Time horizon:2015-2100
- Initial Release:1980
- Institution(s):Joint Global Change Research Institute (JGCRI), USA
- Link to model wiki page:https://www.iamcdocumentation.eu/index.php/Reference_card_-_GCAM
GCAM is an integrated, multi-sector model that explores both human and Earth system dynamics. The role of models like GCAM is to bring multiple human and physical Earth systems together in one place to shed light on system interactions and provide scientific insights that would not otherwise be available from the pursuit of traditional disciplinary scientific research alone. GCAM is constructed to explore these interactions in a single computational platform with a sufficiently low computational requirement to allow for broad explorations of scenarios and uncertainties. Components of GCAM are designed to capture the behavior of human and physical systems, but they do not necessarily include the most detailed process-scale representations of its constituent components. On the other hand, model components in principle provide a faithful representation of the best current scientific understanding of underlying behavior.
GCAM is a dynamic recursive model, meaning that decision-makers do not know the future when making a decision today. After it solves each period, the model then uses the resulting state of the world, including the consequences of decisions made in that period – such as resource depletion, capital stock retirements and installations, and changes to the landscape – and then moves to the next time step and performs the same exercise. For long-lived investments, decision-makers may account for future profit streams, but those estimates would be based on current prices. For some parts of the model, economic agents use prior experience to form expectations based on multi-period experiences.